DOC2: A region turns towards modernity –  socio-economic developments during the 16th and 17th century  in the mining region Kitzbühel

Doctoral candidate
Mag.a Anita Feichter-Haid


Univ.-Prof. Dr. Klaus Brandstätter

University of Innsbruck
Institute of History and European Ethnology
Innrain 52, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria
p 0043 (0)512 507 96122

Anita Haid



In the beginning of the modern age there were two great mining centres in North-Tyrol. Next to the outstanding mining area around Schwaz another important mining district around the city of Kitzbühel emerged. In this region mining activities can be proven already for the beginning of the 15th century. The sovereign then, the Bavarian duke Ludwig VII., let record and describe his possessions in a „Salbuch“, which still exists.

While taking over the rule of Kitzbühel, Kufstein and Rattenberg, the Habsburg sovereign Maximilian I. reorganised the quite modest mining practice. At this time a development started, which transformed Kitzbühel into a leading mining district of Tyrol. Kitzbühel could manage to maintain its position for the next 150 years.

The growth of the mining areas changed the landscape. In order to build numerous mining shafts and to melt the copper, which was gained, large quantities of wood were needed. The consequences were massive clearings and ongoing conflicts over the right of exploitation. Meanwhile transportation routes were expanded in order to transport copper and silver and to supply the miners.

Mining activities did not only change the landscape but also influenced existing social structures. On the one hand numerous miners with (or without) technological knowledge moved into the area, on the other hand sedentary farmers could find sideline work in the mines or changed completely into mining workers.


Main Considerations

Within our common project this part will deal with following questions: Which structures did emerge within the miners? How did they organize themselves? What do we know about their workaday life? What did the supply of the mining districts look like?


Quellenlage und Methodik

The scientific literature[1] which deals with the mining activities around Kitzbühel is scarce. But we are fortunate to have a quite singular situation when it comes to archival sources. The whole archival inventory, which includes files, books, codices and manuscripts, extends to 115 running meters. Next to books of the montane administration there are office books and montane regulations for the mining districts. Moreover there are files of miner’s societies and catalogues with important papers, files, shaft plans and maps.

To be able to answer the former laid questions a methodic reprocessing of the relevant sources is fundamental. This is only possible with the aid of a datasystem, which will be adapted and redeveloped by Anja Masur, who is in charge of the project-part 4.

[1] The main work was written by Manfred Rupert „Zur Geschichte des Berg- und Hüttenwesens in der Herrschaft Kitzbühel bis ins 17. Jahrhundert“ (1985).


Overview DOC-team


small miner Schwazer Bergbuch

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